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Insurers May Be Weathering Mortgage Crisis
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Recent earnings results show that insurers may be beginning to weather the mortgage crisis a little better, although they’re still posting declining profits.

Among those reporting second quarter numbers recently, Travelers, The Hartford and MetLife all saw their profits dip, hit by losses from mortgage backed investments.  Genworth Financial, a spin-off from GE, actually posted a loss this quarter.  But so far, most insurers haven’t experienced the kind of disastrous numbers we’ve seen from banks and investment houses hit by the credit crunch.  

Shares in the Hartford actually surged after its earnings report last week, despite the fact that profits dipped nine percent.  Investors were seemingly heartened that the company still beat Wall Street’s expectations for its operating earnings by more than ten cents a share.  Travelers also exceeded analysts’ forecasts, and blamed its profits slide on more catastrophe payouts, saying the impact on investment income has been negligible.  

This week, all eyes will be on AIG, the world’s largest insurer, as it posts second quarter numbers.  The company lost nearly 8 billion dollars in the first quarter, largely because of the impact of mortgage backed investments, and there could be more write downs this quarter.